Families have looked for dietary answers to hyperactivity and attention problems for decades. Fortunately, many have had success. Avoiding artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, keeping sugars low, and avoiding foods that someone is allergic to or sensitive to all have the potential to make a positive difference. A variety of nutritional supplements can also help.
Researchers have now found another clue. In a study of 120 children and adolescents who were newly diagnosed with ADHD, those who did not follow a Mediterranean diet had a higher incidence of a diagnosis of ADHD than those who did follow this diet.
What is the Mediterranean diet all about? There is not one specific menu or list. But the basics focus on eating lots of fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, beans, fish, olive oil, and only small amounts of meat, dairy and wine.
Of course, the foods from this list need to be healthy versions. It is a given that “fruit” doesn’t mean canned peaches in syrup. In fact, you will want to avoid processed products and think fresh and home-cooked whenever you can.
In general you should be looking more at plant-based foods. For non-vegetarians, a limited amount of yogurt and cheese, eggs, and poultry are often included along with fish or other seafood. And do not forget to have “good fats.” Good fats can be had from green and black olives, extra virgin olive oil, sunflower seeds, avocados, walnuts, pistachios and almonds, among other foods. Get in the habit of using spices and herbs in place of conventional salt.
The authors caution that they do not have proof that changing to a Mediterranean diet will actually reduce symptoms, they only studied the association between those following the diet and the incidence of ADHD. But ACN suggests it is a good option to try, with many known health benefits.